just a quick recap…
it’s 1994. i’m a narrow-minded church youth pastor with a bad attitude, and god has opened a door for me to share the gospel with a bunch of pampered college golfers who have a very limited idea of who jesus is. teddy is a freshman who has recently lost his father to cancer. his reaction to the gospel wavers between ambivalence and hostility, but he seems to like me.
its more than a year now since i have been teaching the gospel of john every tuesday night. several of the guys have visited my church and a few have walked the aisle and made a confession of their faith. while that is gratifying to me, i am not seeing any real change in their priorities. so i get even more raw and confrontational with my presentation of the gospel. “it is the path to abundant life,” i tell them, “but it will cost you everything.”
that november, todd pulled me aside and told me that he decided to follow jesus. todd is a smart, creative, righteous yet humble young man from lake geneva, wisconsin. oh yeah…he is also devastatingly handsome and almost beat tiger woods the one time they played against each other (is that what you wanted me to say, todd?). anyway, when todd told me he had made a decision for christ i was encouraged, but resolved to take a wait-and-see attitude. in the meantime, the bible study continued.
in january, i was working at my office very late one night. there was a tap on my window (the doors were locked) and i went to the front door and found teddy. i invited him in and it was obvious he had been crying. i asked if he was okay and he said, “i’ve never been better.” teddy told me that he had spent the afternoon with his mother explaining that he was leaving his life to follow jesus. in the few moments before he came to my office he had broken up with his girlfriend. she could not understand why they had to break up, but teddy explained that he was devoting his life to jesus. teddy then proceeded to tell me that he and todd had quit the golf team, given up their scholarships, and were moving out of the golf house into an apartment. if you knew teddy and todd, you would know that they were an unlikely pair–they would not normally have been drawn together. now, however, their extreme faith commitments had united them and they were stepping together into a new and unknown life.
frankly, i didn’t know what to do. i had not asked them to give up golf (i got irate calls from both sets of parents…”what kind of cult are you running?”) and i had not expected an action so drastic and definitive. i’d never seen a conversion (if that’s what you call it) so complete…like paul on the way to damascus. now i’ve got two college students who have abandoned everything important to them–on my advice–and have submitted themselves to me for advice and direction.
what would you do?